Opening day has arrived as high school baseball teams across the state are set to start the 2021 regular season.

Now that teams are back in action on the diamond, the following teams make up The Monitor’s Baseball Top 10 Poll.

THE MONITOR’S

BASEBALL TOP 10 POLL

Team                                                         Records       Prv.

1. Rio Grande City                                          —          —

2. La Joya High                                                —          —

3. Sharyland Pioneer                                  —          —

4. Los Fresnos                                                  —          —

5. McAllen High                                              —          —

6. Sharyland High                                          —          —

7. Edinburg Vela                                             —          —

8. PSJA High                                                     —          —

9. Weslaco High                                             —          —

10. La Joya Palmview                                 —          —

Rio Grande City starts the list at No. 1 in the Top 10 with plenty of senior experience returning this season. It’s core four of Marc Perez (UTRGV signee), Mike Ramos (UTRGV commit) and twins Eddie (Grayson County commit) and Emmanuel Garza (Rice commit) will spearhead the Rattlers’ attack as they’ll be competing in District 30-5A. RGC is also the No. 8 team in the state, according to the most recent Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association Poll.

La Joya High comes in at No. 2 after establishing itself as a power early last season with a 12-2-1 record. Junior JC Gutierrez (Texas Tech commit) is back to lead the Coyotes’ pitching staff with a deep group of position players who form a stacked lineup top to bottom.

The Sharyland Pioneer Diamondbacks are the No. 3-ranked team in the poll with key players returning from their state-qualifying group two years ago. Shortstop Juan Rivera (UTRGV commit) is one of the best bats and base-runners, while right-handed pitcher David Lopez (Wharton Junior College commit) will be Pioneer’s horse on the mound. The D-Backs also earned the No. 5-ranking in the THSBCA poll.

Los Fresnos is the No. 4 team in the RGV with one of the most dangerous arms in its arsenal in senior pitcher Victor Loa, a Texas State commit. The Falcons, who started last season 11-1, have a good shot at duplicating their success in 2021.

Perennial power McAllen High is slotted at No. 5 in The Monitor’s Baseball Top 10 Poll. Senior Chris Bernal (Texas State commit) will be crucial on behind the plate and on the mound for the Bulldogs this season. McHi also has five more returning starters from last year’s 14-2-1 squad.

At No. 6 is Sharyland High, giving District 31-5A three teams in the top six along with McHi and Pioneer. The Rattlers got off to a 13-2-1 start in 2020. With pitcher/first baseman Victor Sanchez, catcher/third baseman Diego Zuniga, and outfielders Saul Soto and Jose Garcia back in the fold, Sharyland is set up for another strong year.

The Edinburg Vela SaberCats are the No. 7 team in the poll with a loaded senior group set to return. Pitcher/outfielder AJ Sotelo (Incarnate Word commit) and catcher Jaime Perez Jr. (Tarleton commit) will lead a deep group of SaberCats as they navigate their way through District 31-6A.

No. 8 PSJA High had only one loss on its 2020 record to go with 10 wins. The Bears have five players back, including key pieces Viggo Lopez (Texas commit) and Diego Villescas (UTRGV commit) to steer the ship. PSJA High is the third 31-6A squad in the top 10, putting the district in the conversation with 31-5A as the toughest in the RGV.

Weslaco High comes in at No. 9 with five returning starters for the 2021 season. The Panthers are back in District 32-6A after spending the previous two years in District 31-6A. Now, Weslaco will challenge Los Fresnos as the team to beat back in 32-6A.

La Joya Palmview rounds out the first top 10 poll at No. 10. Although the Lobos are a young team, their four returning sophomore starters give them a solid base to build on throughout the year in the six-team District 30-5A.

Teams to watch: Edinburg High; Hidalgo; Mission Veterans; Raymondville; Roma; Weslaco East.

bramos@themonitor.com